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The (randomly) selected focus publication for October 2019 is:

Cavallaro, F., Seilhamer, M. F., Ho, Y. Y., & Ng, B. C. (2018). Attitudes to Mandarin Chinese varieties in Singapore. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 28(2), 195-225.

ABSTRACT

This study aims to shed light on the attitudes of Chinese Singaporeans and Chinese nationals residing in Singapore to varieties of Mandarin Chinese. 64 Singaporean Chinese and Chinese national participants took matched and verbal-guise tests, evaluating recorded speakers of two varieties of Singapore Mandarin (standard and colloquial) and the variety spoken in the PRC on status and solidarity traits. These evaluations were followed by optional questionnaire items intended to probe for additional more insights into the participants’ atti- tudes and perceptions of one another. Both Singaporean Chinese and Chinese national participants assigned higher status to the PRC’s variety of Mandarin. Attitudes toward the two varieties of Singapore Mandarin, however, varied, with Singaporeans rating the standard variety higher than the colloquial variety on all traits and Chinese nationals favouring the colloquial variety. Interestingly, for all three varieties of Mandarin, solidarity traits were rated higher than status traits by all participants, suggesting that, in Singapore, Mandarin Chinese is now viewed more as a language of solidarity than status.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for September 2019 is:

Sampasivam, S., Collins, K., Bielajew, C., & Clément, R. (2018). Intergroup threat and the linguistic intergroup bias: A stress biomarker study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 36(6), 632-655. doi:10.1177/0261927X18799807

ABSTRACT

This study investigates the physiological consequences of derogation. In the face of an ingroup threat, an opportunity to derogate the outgroup is associated with increases in salivary cortisol, a stress biomarker. These findings support the intergroup anxiety model, which suggests that following an anxiety-inducing threatening experience, outgroup evaluations can amplify emotional reactions and stress. In this study, we investigated whether threatened participants who derogated would show higher cortisol levels. Canadian undergraduates (N = 169) read either a threatening or favourable passage about Canadians. They then engaged in either a linguistic intergroup bias (LIB) or control task. Salivary samples were collected prethreat, postthreat, and posttask. The results suggest that ingroup threat was associated with increases in cortisol levels. Threatened participants who displayed LIB showed higher cortisol levels than those who were threatened and did not show LIB. These findings illustrate the importance of incorporating a neuroscientific approach.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for August 2019 is:

Al-Hoorie, A. H. (2018). The L2 Motivational Self System: A meta-analysis. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8(4), 721–754. doi:10.14746/ssllt.2018.8.4.2

ABSTRACT

This article reports the first meta-analysis of the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009). A total of 32 research reports, involving 39 unique samples and 32,078 language learners, were meta-analyzed. The results showed that the three components of the L2 Motivational Self System (the ideal L2 self, the ought-to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience) were significant predictors of subjective intended effort (rs = .61, .38, and .41, respectively), though weaker predictors of objective measures of achievement (rs = .20, –.05, and .17). Substantial heterogeneity was also observed in most of these correlations. The results also suggest that the strong correlation between the L2 learning experience and intended effort reported in the literature is, due to substantial wording overlap, partly an artifact of lack of discriminant validity between these two scales. Implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed.

A PDF of this article can be accessed here.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for July 2019 is:

Gasiorek, J., Gallois, C., Pierson, H., NussBaum, J. F., & Harwood, J. (2019). Advancing theory in language, communication, and intergroup relations. In J. Harwood, J. Gasiorek, H. Pierson, J. F. NussBaum, & C. Gallois (Eds.), Language, communication, and intergroup relations: A celebration of the scholarship of Howard Giles (pp. 291-305). New York, NY: Routledge.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for June 2019 is:

Harwood, J., NussBaum, J. F., Pierson, H., Gallois, C., & Gasiorek, J. (2019). Accommodating a legend: Howard Giles and the social psychology of language and communication. In J. Harwood, J. Gasiorek, H. Pierson, J. F. NussBaum, & C. Gallois (Eds.), Language, communication, and intergroup relations: A celebration of the scholarship of Howard Giles (pp. 3-14). New York, NY: Routledge.

A PDF of the publication is available for download here.